Winner_Humanity - Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions...

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Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyright material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction not be "used for any purposes other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
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25 ARE HUMANS OBSOLETE? Langdon Winner Langdon Winner is Professor of Political Science in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His work focuses on the social and political implications of modern technological change. His books include: Political Artifacts: Design and the Quality of Public Life (forthcoming); The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology (1986); and Autonomous Technology: Technics-out- of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought (1977). IN MAINSTREAM WRITINGS ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY from the seventeenth century to the end of the millennium, the bene- ficiary of the growth of knowledge was perfectly clear. Humanity as a whole, often referred to as “man,” was bound to reap the benefits from the advance of scientific research and its manifold practical applica- tions. Optimistic depictions of progress assumed that eventually the growth of science, technology, and modern institutions would benefit not only powerful elites, but the world’s population more broadly with improvements evident in health, nutrition, housing, industrial produc- tion, transportation, education, and numerous other areas. Among the first to grasp the possibilities were Francis Bacon and René Descartes, whose writings on the promise of the new science included bold projections of the godsend that would flow from the laboratories and workshops. Explaining why it was important to overcome his mod- esty and publish his discoveries in physics, Descartes comments, “I believed that I could not keep them concealed without sinning griev- ously against the law by which we are bound to promote…the general
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26 good of mankind.” It is at last conceivable, he argues, that “we might…render ourselves lords and possessors of nature.” 1 It did not take long, however, for flaws in these hopeful projections to gain the attention of social critics (Karl Marx most prominent among them), who noted that, in practice, the march onward and upward had benefited some groups more than others and left working people in the dust. In later decades, criticisms that were initially focused on divisions of social class were broadened to emphasize varieties of discrimination associated with race, gender, and ethnicity, ones as potent as social class
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This note was uploaded on 09/21/2011 for the course SOC 499 taught by Professor Dant during the Spring '11 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Winner_Humanity - Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions...

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